Exhibition Opening Friday 02 September 5pm
Continues until 28 September 2022
The Politics of Small Things highlights the fact that we are now living in the New Climatic Regime (1), the period of the sixth mass extinction. A time of annihilation, when both common and rare species of mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are being lost to mankind. In 2019 the United Nations released a report by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services, on the devastating effects of Climate Collapse on biodiversity and ecosystems. The report highlights that one million species face imminent extinction if we continue to farm, fish and procreate at the rate we are currently doing. That is one million out of 8 million species alive today. We are the agents of the sixth mass extinction.
Agriculture is the single largest impactor on local biodiversity. One of the threats to agricultural productivity is the loss of pollinators, especially bees, butterflies and flies. Today, in Ireland 50% of all bee species are in decline, while 1/3 are threatened with extinction. In the last 30 years we have lost around 30% of all insect species due to habitat loss and climate collapse. Insect loss means birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish starve as they miss out on vital food sources, while soil is not fertilised and aerated naturally, a process that is critical to all plant life. The international picture is also one of accelerating loss. The UN study suggests pollinators could vanish within a century. It is rare that a scientific paper is so blunt: “Unless we change our ways of producing food insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades.” The analysis concludes that intensive agriculture is the main driver of declines and heavy use of pesticides, urbanization and climate collapse are all big contributing factors. Right now the challenge for agriculture is manageable. We can have intensive agriculture that is sustainable. In this way, we can avoid cutting more pristine forest or destroying more grasslands or wetlands. We can plant flowering plants in monoculture fields to attract pollinators. This way we can create more resilience for that ecosystem and it makes more economical sense for smaller-scale farms.
The Climate Emergency and biodiversity loss must be addressed together. You cannot tackle one without tackling the other. Sometimes it is difficult to regard this as a real visceral life-changing problem. We must start to equate species extinction with death. If something ceases to exist there is nothing you can do. Forests give us medicine, clean air and mitigate climate. These are all important things that we need, but when these things seize to exist there is nothing we can do about it, because once it is gone, it is gone forever and we can never get it back. We do not see ourselves as part of nature. Even though we are an involved part of the natural world we have created a division between ourselves and nature. We need to realise how we are incredibly integrated into all ecosystems. We are not considering the impact that we are having on every part of our environment because we are not paying attention to it. Whatever we do has an effect on the ecosystems around the world, whether we measure that in species extinction or in the amount of CO2 gas in our atmosphere and oceans.
(1) Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime, Bruno Latour.
Mark Clare has had several solo exhibitions both nationally and internationally including most recently, The Little Things Matter - Pro Arts, Oakland, California, USA 2019; If Not You - Sirius Arts Centre, Cork 2017; Que sais-je? - Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris 2015; I Believe In You - The Model, Sligo, 2015 and the Craword Art Gallery, Cork 2014. Selected Group Shows have included IMMA OUTDOORS, - Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin 2021; Bank, Blank - Alte Sparkasse, Berlin 2018; I Slept Like A Stone - The LAB, Dublin 2018; The Kaunas Biennial - The National Museum of M. K. C, Kaunas, Lithuania 2017; August Destiny - The Pearse Museum, Dublin 2017 & St Carthage Hall Lismore Castle, Waterford 2016; What If We Got it Wrong? - Centre Culturel Irlandais, Paris, 2016; Seachange - Tulca Festival, Galway 2015; Phoenix Rising - The Hugh Lane Gallery, Dublin 2014; Into the Light - A new work commissioned by the Arts Council to celebrate 60 years of the Arts Council Collection.
In 2008 he was awarded an Open Award EV+A 2008 by the International Critic and Curator Hou Hanru and has regularly been awarded funding by The Arts Council of Ireland since 2004.